The Lord Jesus sings Psalm 118 with His disciples

Discussion in 'Daily Devotional Forum' started by R Harris, Apr 16, 2014.

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  1. R Harris

    R Harris Puritan Board Sophomore

    The following is a short devotional I wrote many years ago regarding Jesus singing Psalm 118 with His disciples at the Last Supper. Every time I read Psalm 118, it is astounding to think that Jesus sang these words speaking of Him. Hope that this devotional will be helpful and meaningful to you in some way.

    MATT. 26:30, MARK 14:26, AND PSALM 118

    In His last supper in the upper room with his disciples, the Lord Jesus gave his beautiful discourse recorded in the Gospel of John, chapters 13 through 17, and He instituted one of our precious sacraments, the Lord’s Supper. At the conclusion of this Passover meal and teaching, Matthew and Mark both record in their Gospel accounts (Matt. 26:30, Mark 14:26) that Jesus and His disciples “sang a hymn” prior to going out to the Mount of Olives. What was this hymn? And what was its significance? To these questions I will now focus.
    Some Christian writers over the years have commented how wonderful it would be if we knew what hymn they sang. The fact of the matter is that we do know what hymn they sang. The hymn was Psalm 118, the last hymn of the great Hallel, which is the series of psalms 113-118 sung during the traditional Passover meal.
    The Jewish Talmud, a collection of rabbinical teachings about Jewish life and customs written shortly after the first century, states that during the Passover meal four cups of wine would be drunk, and the singing of the Hallel would begin after the second cup, with Psalm 113 being the first hymn sung followed by Psalm 114. After the fourth and final cup of wine had been drunk, the remaining psalms of the Hallel – 115, 116, 117, and 118 – were then sung. It is the last of these psalms – 118 – which Matthew and Mark refer to. All Christian scholars who have studied this matter over the centuries - numerous men of the Westminster Assembly, John Owen, Matthew Henry, Jonathan Edwards, David Brown, Alexander Hodge, John Broadus of Southern Seminary, to name but a few – are agreed that Psalm 118 is the hymn of these passages.
    The most striking aspects of Psalm 118 are its numerous verses which relate directly to what Jesus was about to experience. He knew full well what lay ahead of Him as He left the upper room with the disciples. As He united his voice with those of His disciples in this final hymn of the Hallel, there can be no doubt that the words would have provided Him with strength. As you read the text of this psalm, I invite you to think of the application of these verses to Jesus, who was only hours away from His trial, His beatings, His scourging, His crucifixion, and finally His death.

    PSALM 118
    Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
    2 Let Israel say,
    “His steadfast love endures forever.”
    3 Let the house of Aaron say,
    “His steadfast love endures forever.”
    4 Let those who fear the LORD say,
    “His steadfast love endures forever.”
    5 Out of my distress I called on the LORD;
    the LORD answered me and set me free.
    6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear.
    What can man do to me?
    7 The LORD is on my side as my helper;
    I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
    8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in man.
    9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in princes.
    10 All nations surrounded me;
    in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
    11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
    in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
    12 They surrounded me like bees;
    they went out like a fire among thorns;
    in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
    13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
    but the LORD helped me.
    14 The LORD is my strength and my song;
    he has become my salvation.
    15 Glad songs of salvation
    are in the tents of the righteous:
    "The right hand of the LORD does valiantly,
    16 the right hand of the LORD exalts,
    the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!"
    17 I shall not die, but I shall live,
    and recount the deeds of the LORD.
    18 The LORD has disciplined me severely,
    but he has not given me over to death.
    19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
    that I may enter through them
    and give thanks to the LORD.
    20 This is the gate of the LORD;
    the righteous shall enter through it.
    21 I thank you that you have answered me
    and have become my salvation.
    22 The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the chief cornerstone;
    23 This is the LORD's doing;
    it is marvelous in our eyes.
    24 This is the day that the LORD has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.
    25 Save us, we pray, O LORD!
    O LORD, we pray, give us success!
    26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!
    We bless you from the house of the LORD.
    27 The LORD is God,
    and he has made his light to shine upon us.
    Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
    up to the horns of the altar!
    28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
    you are my God; I will extol you.
    29 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!

    Remarkable, and almost unfathomable, are these great words penned 900 years before they were sung by Jesus and fulfilled by Him mere hours later.

    Truly the LORD is to be praised!
  2. Oregonian

    Oregonian Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you, Randy, for sharing this very timely insight into the meaning of this Psalm. What a blessing to know that we, too, can sing Psalm 18 and appreciate the depth of its meaning.
  3. Ephrata

    Ephrata Puritan Board Freshman

    There cannot be a price on such knowledge. Excellent meditation for Passover week. Thank you, Randy.
  4. Free Christian

    Free Christian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hi Tori, what is Passover week?
  5. ProtestantBankie

    ProtestantBankie Puritan Board Freshman

    So well known is this fact within the traditions of the Free Church of Scotland that every Communion, the singing of Psalm 118 takes place while Christians are gathering at the Lord's Table. It is a heartwarming thought to think of ourselves so strongly bound to OT believers.
  6. whirlingmerc

    whirlingmerc Puritan Board Sophomore

    The contents of the Psalm are fascinating, such as 'the stone the builders rejected' and 'this is the day the Lord has made'

    Is it too much to also notice that the shortest Psalm/Chapter of the Bible is right before it and regarding the gentiles in white hot worship of God and the longest after it and very Jewish with the 22 letters of the Jewish alphabet exploring blessings of God's covenant. Starting with a commitment to seek God, ending with a request for God to seek him, with it's two way relentless acceptance of God's word and relentless prayer of dependency on God
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